Perhaps it was Apple’s ability to sell 600,000 iPhone 4s on opening day, or maybe it was Google’s quick run-up to activating 160,000 Android devices a day that made Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) understand that the KIN was an epic failure. Or maybe it was the departure of Microsoft’s Robbie Bach, who unveiled the device on April 12, that made this decision easier.
Whatever the case, Gizmodo is reporting that the device, aimed at the teenage market, has been discontinued after only being on sale via Verizon Wireless since May 13. The two devices that were rumored to have sold only about 500 in total will continue to be supported, but in general, the project is dead. In a statement provided to mocoNews, Microsoft said: “We have made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases.”
We listed all of the concerns after attending a press conference in San Francisco when we said the KIN was too little and too late. The phones had a long list of shortcomings: no apps and no games, and no instant messaging or calendar, but the nail in the coffin was probably the pricing. While it is not technically a smartphone (for all the mentioned reasons), it cost as much as one. Even though the prices fell drastically this week, they are still too far out of reach for the target demographic because of the accompanying full-priced data plan.
It’s smart to not drag this decision out at least partly because the company spent a lot of money on the KIN. Microsoft needs a solid and uniform mobile strategy. It was not clear how KIN would be marketed separately from Windows 7, which is coming out soon. By integrating the KIN team into Windows Mobile, Microsoft can now funnel its time and money into one platform. Most recently, it’s been on TV and radio commercials, but the KIN is also an evolution of Danger, the Sidekick-maker, that Microsoft bought for about $500 million.
The one thing that seems universally felt (Gizmodo agrees), is that Microsoft should keep the Kin Studio, which is a somewhat complex idea to convey in a commercial, but offers an awesome “cloud” experience for the user. All of the photos and interactions you have on the phone are automatically uploaded and stored on the web. On the web, there